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Sandra Cisneros

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Shannon Koh

on 3 June 2010

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Transcript of Sandra Cisneros

Sandra Cisneros Sandra Cisneros was born in 1954 in Chicago to a Mexican family of seven children. She was the only girl in a family of boys, and they lived for a time in Humboldt Park. Out of her memories of this neighborhood she developed The House on Mango Street. Cisneros grew up so poor she says her neighborhood seemed like a war zone. There were broken buildings all around her that looked like they had been bombed. The empty buildings made her feel lonely. The “real” Mango Street house at 1524 N. Campbell. The House on Mango Street is a linked collectiong of forty-four short vignettes that evoke the circumstances and conditions of a Hispanic American ghetto in Chicago. The book is primarily autobiographical, and the narrative is seen through the eyes of Esperanza Cordero. The vignettes in the novel are mainly about the role of women in society as Esperanza grows up in a society that makes her to stay rooted in her cultural traditions and that compel her to pursue a better way of life outside the ghetto.
Her writing was greatly influenced by how she was raised in this Puerto Rican neighborhood. The vignette form reflects a young girl's short attention span, fitting from on topic to another, never placing too much importance on any one event. Within these vignettes, Cisneros introduces many characters in the neighborhood. The novel begins with Esperanza's family moving into a house on Mango Street. Their new house is the first home her parents actually own, and it is a huge improvement from their previous apartment, but Esperanza is disappointed with it. She resolves that she will someday leave Mango Street and have a house all on her own. The growth of Esperanza's maturity both physically and emotionally is shown as the novel charts her life. She makes friends in the new neighborhood, grows hips as a woman, developes her first crush, endures sexual assault, and begins to write as a way of expressing herself and as a way to escape the neighborhood. Esperanza befriends Lucy and Rachel, and they have many adventures in the small space of their neighborhood. The girls find themselves sexually vulnerable, but during the first half of the year, they are content to live and play in their child's world. At school, Esperanza feels ashamed about her family's poverty and her difficult-to-pronounce name.
Over the summer, Esperanza grows into puberty and she matures sexually as she enjoys boys' attention on her. She begins to closely watch the women in her neighborhood. In the following school year, Esperanza befriends Sally who is more sexually mature than Esperanza's other girl friends. Sally uses boys and men as an escape route from her abusive father. Esperanza is not completely confortable with Sally's sexual experience, and their friendship results in a crisis when Sally leaves Esperanza alone and a group of boys sexually assaults Esperanza in her absence. Esperanza is determined to leave the neighborhood and to have her own house after the traumatic experiences and her close observation of the older women in her neighborhood. When Esperanza find herself emotionally ready to leave her neighborhood, however, she discovers that she will never fully be able to leave Mango Street behind. She remains on Mango Street but she has matured extensively and she has a stronger desire to leave and come back to help the women she has left. Esperanza understands that writing will help her to emotionally and physically escape her situation in the future.
The House On Mango Street received mostly positive reviews when it was published in 1984, and it has sold more than two million copies worldwide. Her first novel, The House on Mango Street, captured Cisneros' feelings about growing up as a Latina in the United States. In a 1991 radio interview, Cisneros talked about female identity, describing women as "voiceless." She argued that some women only find the courage to speak up after they experience marriage and motherhood. She hoped women and girls might think more about their own empowerment after reading her work. Her family moved a lot, so she never had lasting friendships. She also felt different from her classmates because she was a chicana. Works cited:
"GradeSaver: House on Mango Street Study Guide : Summary and Analysis of The House on Mango Street-Gil's Furniture." Study Guides Essay Editing | GradeSaver. Web. 03 June 2010. <http://www.gradesaver.com/house-on-mango-street/study-guide/section1/>.
"Photo Gallery." Sandra Cisneros. Web. 03 June 2010. <http://www.sandracisneros.com/gallery_thumbnails.php>
"The House on Mango Street." ENotes. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.enotes.com/house-on-mango-street>.
"Sandra Cisneros." ENotes. Web. <http://www.enotes.com/authors/sandra-cisneros>.
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